Aug 31, 2013

Obama and global intifada

It is not difficult to understand the power-game being played in Syria and no decent human being should stand on the sideline in a conflict that will shape the future of our humanity.  The global intifada (uprising) is spreading and it is rejecting war and hegemony and now even President Obama is reeling under pressure.  It is an earthquake that is shaking the very foundation of post-WWII world order (what used to be referred to mistakenly as “the American century” when it was really the Zionist century).  The British, French and American public long exposed to Zionist propaganda have joined the revolution.  Politicians started to panic especially after the British parliament voted against war. This was the first major and stunning defeat to the US/Israel hegemony of British politics since WWII.

US President Obama was stuck after the British vote and the clear solid position of Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Russia, China and even overwhelming public opposion in the US despite the attempt to whip frenzy by Israel media stooges like Wolf Blitzer of CNN.   Obama was also stunned by what his own intelligence services told him about potential repercussions of a military strike on Syria especially without UN mandate and without US public support.  These repercussions included presence of strong defensive and offensive capabilities in Syria. There was intelligence leaks about downed “test” incursion. But repercussions discussed include strengthening rather than weakening Iran (after all, this is what happened after Iraq!).  President Obama spent countless hours talking with his Zionist and non-Zionist advisers and key government officials (there are no anti-Zionists in his group). Faced with no good option in trying to maintain Israel/US hegemony, Obama decided not to decide and shift the debate to Congress to buy time. Now it is up to the American people who overwhelmingly reject war on Syria to stand up and pressure the Israeli-occupied US congress to do what is good for US citizens not what they perceive to be good for Zionism. 

The Russian president spoke of a number of key points that he called “common sense” while Obama just lied.  Russia and the US had agreed to the parameters of a political conference in which all sides were invited. Russia talked the Syrian government into attending this Geneva conference (even though most Syrians opposed a dialogue with Western backed thugs and Western backed mercenaries). Under Israeli pressure, the US administration started to rethink their agreement and their stooges announced they cannot join discussion with their opponents unless their opponents are defeated and surrender!  Syrian government forces then gained momentum against the Western and Israeli backed extremist rebels and cornered them in very few pockets.  Syria was opening up and international inspectors were coming.   Putin rightly points out that under such conditions: who has the benefit of using chemical weapons: the Syrian government or the rebels trying to provide excuses for Western defeat of a government they could not defeat themselves? It is common sense. Syria, Russia and China and all humanity ask logically: if the US has proof that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to attack its own people (including its own soldiers), then give us the proof. They rightly ask why the mandate of UN inspectors was  limited to only find out if they were used but not to explore who might have used them. After the lies Israeli and US intelligence concocted to go the war on Iraq, they now seem rather reluctant to manufacture evidence again. 

Obama lied about many other things and perhaps the only part of his speech that touched on reality is when he admitted that he is part of a system and that he cannot make a decision by himself.  The military-industrial complex is now too entrenched in US politics for any president to challenge it.  In fact, no one would be allowed to become president if they were to have even a slight chance of potential to challenge it.  So Obama says: I am with the machine that was in place before I came to power and will always be with the machine.  By this he showed that his campaign retorhic about “change” was just what American call “bull-shit”.  That is why Obama is stuck.  When President Obama paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr just a week ago, he was being hypocritical. King had famously said that the US is the greatest purveyor of violence on earth.  The US public can and must push Obama and Congress to change just like they pushed previous politicians to get civil rights, women’s right to vote, ending the war on Vietnam, ending US support for Apartheid South Africa and more.

The fact remains that the most destabilizing country in the Middle East is the one that receives unconditional billions of US taxpayer money. It is the state that caused millions of refugees and that introduced weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons to the Middle East.  It is the state that used white phosphorous and depleted uranium on civilian populations.  It is the state that started five wars and that lobbied successfully to ge the US to go to wars in places like Iraq and Afghanistan that caused millions of lives lost and trillions of US taxpayer money spent. It is the state that fits all the criteria discussed in the International convention against the crimes of apartheid and racial discrimination.

The fact is that this latest Israel-inspired conflict is not about form of government in Syria. The US/Israel backed dictators in a dozen Arab countries are far, far worse than Bashar Assad of Syria. The fact remains that this is a clear attempt by the US through ist secretary of state under influence from the Zionist lobby and with the support of puppet rulers in the Arab world to liquidate the Palestinian cause.  The parameters of this are clear: liquidating Palestinian rights like the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands, limited Palestinian autonomy that Palestinian puppets can call a state in parts of the occupied West Bank in confederation with Jordan.  This will ensure the “Jewishness” of the apartheid state of Israel. Gaza would be relegated to Egyptian administration or continuing to manage it as one Israeli official said “by putting Gazan’s on a diet”.  To get this program through, resistance must be made to look futile.  Israel set-up a high-level ministerial committee to fight boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.  Israel told the US that the Hizballah-Syria-Iran axis must be destroyed. Potentially developing Arab countries will be broken up into sectarian and other conflicts (divide and conquer) beginning with Iraq.  They thought Syria is the next weak link that can be removed in the same way that Libya was disposed of. They underestimated the level of rejection to their demonic schemes of divide and conquer. 

What happened actually is the opposite. A strengthening block evolved starting in Iran, Iraq and Palestine and spreading globally.  The counter-revolutionary efforts are failing and in some cases getting the opposite effect of unifying and strengthening resistance.  The attempts by some to ignite sectarian strife in Lebanon failed miserably.  The positions of China, Russia, Venezuela and other governments came to reflect the international consensus of resisting US/Israeli hegemony.  No human being and no government can claim neutrality.  Neutrality is rather meaningless when there is such an evel attempt to dominate the world for the benefit of just a few people at the expense of millions. The vast majority of people in all countries (Palestine, USA, Britain, France, Russia, China etc) stand on one side of this against the Zionist attempts to drag the world into yet one more destructive conflict.  Clearly a win here is a win for Palestine and a win for all people of the world.

Before we talk about democracy in Syria, we must respect the fact that the vast majority of people on earth insist that Western governments respect their own citizens’ will instead of trying to smother them or shape them with propaganda or bypass them to serve the Israel lobby.  Before we talk about democracy in Syria, we must end apartheid in Israel, and end the repressive regimes supported by the US especially those in the oil producing Arab countries.  Perhaps this is the reason gulf states are pouring billions to fund murderers in the so called “Syrian rebels” (most of them turn out to be mercenaries).  It is the same reason that Netanyahu and Obama are both very nervous.  When the US/Israel program of liquidating the Palestinian cause and destroying Syria fails (and it will), all bets are off.  People stand up to tyranny and stand up for human rights and that is why governments (US, Israeli, Saudi Arabia, Turkey etc) are starting to panic.  They do have good reason to worry because people power is coming and each of us must be part of it.  We ask you to join the global intifada which will liberate oppressors and oppressed alike and create a better world for all. 

Aug 18, 2013

Politicians lie

Note of Thanks to Japan and Montana: After a tiring but highly productive trip to Japan, I am back in Palestine welcoming visitors and speaking to visiting delegations and about to start teaching the fall semester.  While in Japan, I was awarded Montana's Peace Seeker of the Year
More about my trip to Japan at

There is no way to say this truth nicely: Politicians lie.  That includes Japanese, American, Egyptian, Israeli, and Palestinian politicians! Is there something more common sense than that?  Yet, so many citizens around the world believe their own politicians or wistfully acknowledge lies but think it is part of the job needed to run things.   They believe even when politicians contradict themselves blatantly.  This phenomenon is rather remarkable.  It is a dissonance and disconnect from reality that many seem oblivious to.  It is very dangerous because it can lead to accepting rational for going to war.  These can be deadly wars that lead to millions of lives lost as happened in what was called World War 1 and WW2.  Even when incredible and declassified evidence abound, politicians continue to lie and old mythologies refuse to die.  Here are just a few of the countless  lies told to us over the past few decades:

-Lies about the need to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagazaki (not to end WWII but to start WWIII or the cold war)
-Lies about why Britain issued the Balfour declaration and France the Jules Cambon declaration in support of Zionism
-Lies about why Israel was created in Palestine
-Lies about why Henry Wallace was replaced by Harry Truman as a vice president in the Democratic convention
-Lies about why Truman supported the creation of Israel on top of Palestine
-Lies about the ethnic cleansing of 530 Palestinian villages and towns
-Lies about  September 11, 2001
-Lies about the reasons for the war on Iraq
-Lies about safety of nuclear power plants
-Lies about violations of US citizen rights by their own government
-Lies about US/Israel want to subdue  Iran now
-Lies about the US role in propping-up dictatorships
-Lies about western governments and human rights
-Lies about Vietnam, Cambodia, and much more

With a little effort, any person could easily find 1001 lies and the sometimes painful truth about them.  With very minor effort, I compiled 65 lies/myths told to us about Zionism There are many more. 

But even when it has nothing to do with going to war, lies can be very dangerous. I am not talking about naiveté or stupidity because that is not what the politicians have.  Take for example the Palestinian authority “leadership” represented by Mr. Mahmoud Abbas.  Is it naiveté that  would make him go into fruitless negotiations for 20 years with Israeli politicians then suspend negotiations telling his people that we will not go back to negotiations until Israel stops colonial settlement building and then tell his people that he went back to negotiations anyway while Israel is building.  This flip-flop is the typical politician: no principles and no honesty.  Yet, again many continue to clap for him.  I do not say vote for him since his term is expired a long time ago and no elections are going to happen.

Even when confronted with paper evidence of political lies, many people ignore the mounting evidence.  In our case, there was the lies about support for right of return told to our people while Abu Mazen tells Israeli TV that 1948 areas are Israel and he has no right to go back there (maybe should be able to go “visit”).  There were the lies about being good negotiators with Israel.  Saeb Erekat even wrote two books about negotiations full of such lies.  Those lies were clearly debunked by the leaking of the Palestine papers which show that even a middle school student could do a better job at these negotiations than this groveling charade that these Palestinian negotiators are going through. The fate of 12 million Palestinians and the legacy of 80,000 martyrs are left to lying politicians: Israeli, Palestinian and American. 

But we cannot blame politicians for our ill societies.  It is us the people who let them do what they do by not challenging them.    

An example of a good grasroot project (this one in Canada but similar ones can be done in every country)

Israel Deserves to Be Expelled from UN, Miguel D'Escoto Says

Will Israeli-Palestinian negotiations get my family back home?

[Disgusting] Israel’s relationship with the Arab Gulf states

US Green party foreign policy platform: a breath of fresh air in the politics of the US

[nauseating] The mayor of “upper nazareth” defends racism

Tawfiq Saleh, famous Egyptian Director ands Producer died at age 86 year old.  The film that most effected me was his film AlMakhdoun (the Duped) based on Ghassan Kanafani famous novel “Men in the Sun” (Kanafani was assasinated by Israeli agents in 1972)

Dying for Freedom in Egypt: I was shocked by how many generally good people lost their basic values by fear or hatred or political calculations...This is a call to go back to the basic values, and first of all Human Rights, Dignity, Freedom and Democracy. We, the oppressed people, need them just as we need air to breath.

[I would simply ask those who support the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood (a group I obviously do not support) one simple question: how will you have political reconciliation or build a democratic Egypt if you kill, exclude and jail the leaders of the largest organized group in Egypt?]

[I would simply ask those who support the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood (a group I obviously do not support) one simple question: how will you have political reconciliation or build a democratic Egypt if you kill, exclude and jail the leaders of the largest organized group in Egypt?]

Aug 8, 2013

Qumsiyeh speech Japanese


ここ広島では、私たちは戦争の悲惨さを最も思い知らされます。広島で私たちは「よい戦争」というものはないのだという事実を改めて思わされます。戦争は一般人に苦しみをもたらす一方で、金持ちをもっと金持ちにします。つまり戦争の勝者はお金で、人々は常に敗者です。だからこそ連合軍最高司令官、NATO軍最高司令官を歴にしたアイゼンハウアー大統領は、退任演説で軍産複合体の危険性を警告したのでした。  今日の前半に、オリバー・ストーンさんが思い出させてくれたのはパワーです。イラクとの犯罪的な戦争のせいで、アメリカの納税者は、いまだ3兆ドルの負債を背負わされています。豊かになったのは、この軍産複合体だけです。原爆投下のトルーマンは、ただ政治的目的によって、我々広島、長崎、そしてパレスチナに破滅をもたらしました。 戦争とは、かつてバトラー総督がいみじくも指摘した通り、貧乏人の犠牲の上に金持ちがさらに金を作り上げるための、ぼったくり詐欺なのです。だからこそ、人々が力を合わせて止めようとしない限り、戦争は続いて行くしかありません。ベトナム戦争や南アフリカの例にあるように、我々人民だけが戦争を止めることができます。私が最も希望を見出しているのが、この人民の力です。




イスラエルという国家による占領と植民地化がどんなに残忍かについて話せば、いくらでもお話は尽きることがないでしょう。住んでいる家を壊し、土地から人々を引きはがすやり方について、多くの殺人や拷問について、尽きることのない話があります。子どもたちの骨は兵士に折られてきました。そして学校には白リン弾が撃ち込まれました。この話にはイスラエルの核武装さえ続くこととなってしまいました。最近では、国際法に違反しているイスラエル人の入植地から、パレスチナ人の村に対して不法投棄されている有毒廃棄物が問題になっています。その他には、弁護士の面会やまして裁判官にすら一度も会ったことのない、何年も拘留されている政治的囚人たちの話もせねばなりません。平和 的なデモに参加しただけで殺された友人たちにのことも話さねばなりませんし、私自身の家族の苦しみについても話さねばなりません。しかし、これらすべてをお話しするには、今は時間がありません。

パレスチナ人はこうした過酷な攻撃に対して、過去100年もの間、抵抗してきました。パレスチナの抵抗は実に様々な形をとり、大半は非武装でした。平均約10年ごとの頻度で、これまで13回の大きな抵抗運動が起きています。ちなみに南アフリカはアパルトヘイトのもと、15回の抵抗運動がありました。 我々パレスチナ人は、いつも革新的な方法で闘ってきました。


私たちは、小さな青い惑星を共有しています。しかし同時に、イスラエルのような国が地球を破壊しかねない核兵器の時代をも共有しています。この現状に、ただ黙って満足して待っているわけにはいきません。かつてヘーゲルはこう言いました「人類は歴史から学ばないという歴史を学びました」と。この言葉は間違いだったといつか言ってやらねばなりません。我々は共通の歴史から学ぶことができるのです。そして現在インターネットのおかげで、核や核兵器、そして戦争に対するグローバルな反乱が始まっています。人民の力がついに示されたとき、戦争だけではなく、貧困や気候変動、無気力、無関心のもたらす様々な問題にも我々は打ち勝つことができるでしょう。これこそが、私たちが 犠牲を払ってでも得なければならない未来だと、私は思っています。





Aug 6, 2013

Palestinian in Hiroshima

I and Oliver Stone both spoke at Hiroshima on the anniversary of the first nuclear bombing in human history and we are slated to speak in two days at Nagasaki on the anniversary of the second nuclear attack.  My speech is below in English (I will send the Japanese version later).  These remain the most starkest of acts of state terror in Human history.  I had seen images and video before that made me shudder but being in the City is different.  At 8:15 AM on a sunny hot day we laid down next to the dome for three minutes with people from all backgrounds and I stared at the sky and tried to imagine through the tears the terror that came and exploded 600 meters directly above us in the sky 68 years ago.   But how can one imagine the horror of dropping a nuclear weapon on a population incinerating and skeletonizing tens of thousands and leaving tens of thousands with burned body skin hanging in rags and worse. Harder to imagine yet is the darkness of the human hearts and minds that took the decisions to do that to fellow human beings.  

Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick explained eloquently about the real reasons for dropping the bombs instead of the mythology that is told in school books in America.  But does that really make any difference on the horror of what Truman and his generals visited on humanity? Those of us in the medical field understand clinically what radiation poisoning does to the human body but politicians also know that and Truman had detailed reports from the earlier experiments.  I met so many hibakushas (survivors of the nuclear blast) and their children and grandchildren.  Many told us of the dramatic death of children by leukemia and other cancers and of the congenital deformities.  It was more than we could take even as visitors so I can only begin to imagine the actual feelings of people here. 

Clearly the monuments to victims were slanted strongly away from nationalism and war; something that reminded us that it is possible for victims to learn that war and nationalism are not the answer.  I wished more people can learn that lesson and change the misleading pro-war pro-Zionist message of many holocaust museums to build instead a pro-peace structure.

On the positive side, we were thrilled to see so many children and youth taking the banner of peace.  Middles school children collected signatures to ban nuclear weapons around the world. Hundreds of us marched to the electric company in town to ask that they stop using nuclear power (especially poignant after the disastrous Fukushima plant meltdown).   Our colorful Palestinian Kuffiyas were welcomed among the colorful banners in our march. We felt love and peace. We saw alternating images of hope and pain and of beautiful people who face-up to right-wing politicians and the few racists who even deny what Japanese soldiers did in China and Korea. Like a roller-coaster, a tour of Japan brings mixed emotions.  

As a visiting Palestinian I am struck most of all by the neatness and orderliness of the cities.  Everything runs perfectly.  Trains are accurate to the minute.  Millions ride on these trains both within cities and between cities.  Streets are clean and no walls or checkpoints stop us from freely moving around.  It is all orderly and peaceful.  Crossing streets on cues, trash in its receptacles, lines are straight, and cars and homes are clean and orderly.  Just about everyone speaks in low tones and people are courteous to each other. 

Japan like most countries is a society burdened by Western style capitalism.  Here you see also things like McDonalds, Starbucks, prostitution, and corrupt politicians.   Though more homogeneous than other countries, Japan is a very large country of 120 million people and even in a short visit one sees remarkable diversity of ideas and concepts.  In Nagoya, we visited an educational table at the main square that tried to challenge the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty (a US Dominated agreement favorable to corporations at the expense of people). The organizer of this table belonged to one of the few native communities of Japan, a great man by the name of Esaman.  People stopped by bringing food and sharing stories.  In the same square a lone young musician played his guitar asking for donations to build a school in a remote area of Pakistan. 

In Nagoya, I attended a discussion of writings by Kobayashi Takiji.  The audience were some 30 individuals of diverse background who put their shoes at the entrance of the lecture hall and wore red slippers as they listened intently to a retired bookstore seller discuss and pass around the books by Takiji.  Takiji was born in 1903 and showed a talent for writing at an early age. His writings did not please authorities and he was fired from his job and eventually executed by the government at age 30 y.o. His most famous short novel is called  Kanikōsen and it is a story about workers at a boat fishing for crabs.  The story takes you into an incredible world of suffering of the workers, humanity to fellow workers, and cruelty of their boss.  There seemed to be a revival of the interest in this genre of literature after the last Japanese economic bubble burst.  

Many Japanese yearn for a more caring society and support global solidarity, including with Palestine. This was shown vividly in our visit to Nagoya and Hiroshima.   I reflect on the people I met and saw in get-together, on the streets, in trains, and in restaurants.  Here I would see people who reminded me of people I met in America, in Palestine and elsewhere.  I thought someone should do a documentary on this carrying a camera around different countries to show that there are individuals in each country virtually twins with those living in other countries.  Perhaps this film can bring us all closer to one another.  In the meantime, I cannot wait for our upcoming visit to Nagasaki, Osaka, Tokyo, and Kyoto. And I cannot wait to go back to Palestine where hope against all odds still survives.  Stay tuned.

Speech by Professor Qumsiyeh in Hiroshima on the 68th anniversary of the First Atomic Bomb

Kumbunwa and thank you for this invitation.  It is a special honor for me to visit Japan.  Here in Hiroshima we are most reminded of the horrors of war.  Here we have a chance to reflect on the fact that there is no “good war”.  We are reminded that nations do not win or lose wars.  Wars cause the suffering of common people and makes rich people richer.   Money wins wars, people lose wars. That is why President Eisenhauer warned about the power of the military-industrial complex.  It is a power we were reminded of by Oliver Stone earlier today. It is this complex that was enriched as US taxpayers were left with 3 trillion dollars more in debt due to the criminal war on Iraq.    And it was the same Truman that lied publicly about why he created the catastrophes of Hiroshima and Nagazaki and also the catastrophe (Nakba) of Palestine. 

War, as General Butler correctly observed, war is a racket.  It is a way to make money for rich people at the expense of poor people.  And that is why wars will continue unless common people revolt to stop them. And we the people were able to stop wars before for example in Vietnam and in South Africa. It is this power of the people that I am most optimistic about.

I am one of 12 million Palestinians in the world, 2/3rd of us are refugees or displaced people and the rest live under rule of a foreign government.  How did this come about and how can we stop this war on the people?  

Palestinians are the endogenous people of the Western Part of the Fertile Crescent in Western Asia.  Key milestones in human civilization occurred in this Land of Canaan: animal and plant domestication, development of the alphabet, and development of laws and religions.  

We had over 11,000 years of civilization with religious and cultural developments.  Short attempts to transform Palestine into one thing or another failed.  This included short lived attempts to make it all Christian or make it all Muslim or make it all Jewish.  The European crusades were a good examples of this. But for 97% of our history, Palestine remained mutli-religious and mutli-cultural.

Since the late 19th century, the new political idea of Zionism was developed to create a “Jewish state” in Palestine. At that time less than 3% of the population in Palestine was Jewish. This Zionist colonization was aided by western countries notably England and more recently the USA.

An organized and ruthless project to ethnically cleanse the native Palestinians was organized resulting in countless massacres and total destruction of 530 Palestinian villages and towns. It is still the largest refugee crisis after World War II. In that sense my grandmother is a hibakusha.

Today 7 million Palestinians are refugees and five million of us still live on 8.3% of our historic land.  The state of Israel was built on the destruction of Palestine. Israel has 55 laws that specifically discriminate against native Palestinians. It fulfills the international legal definition of an apartheid (racial discrimination) state. 

Zionists like all other colonial imperial powers try to portray the victims as terrorists. European colonization always did that whether in the Americas or in Africa or in Asia.  It maybe convenient to say that we are white civilized people who “circle the wagons” to protect ourselves from native savages. But the truth is that colonization is violence and 10 times more native civilians are killed than invading people.

I can tell you hundreds of stories of the brutality of occupation and colonization.  I can tell you about home demolitions, about removal of people from their land, about murders, and about torture. I can tell you about breaking bones of Palestinian children, about using white phosphorous on schools and about Israel’s nuclear weapons. I can tell you about toxic waste dumped on Palestinian villages. I can tell you about prisoners held for years without seeing lawyers or judges.I could tell you about friends I lost killed in peaceful demonstrations.  I could tell you my own family stories of suffering. But we do not have time.

I will tell you that Palestinians resisted for the past 100 years this onslaught.  This Palestinian resistance took hundreds of forms, most of them unarmed. We had 13 uprisings, on average one every 10 years. South Africa under apartheid had a long struggle with 15 uprisings.

We Palestinians have been innovative in our struggle.  We had the first demonstration in human history to use automobiles (cars) when in 1929 Palestinian women gathered 120 cars and drove down the old streets of Jerusalem. We lobbied the Ottoman Empire and the British empire to stop supporting colonialist Zionism. We engaged in tax revolts and other forms of civil disobedience. 

We also asked and still ask the international community to help us.  Tens of thousands joined our struggle. There is the International solidarity movement.  As in the struggle against apartheid in south Africa, there is also the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS).  We ask you to join us because this struggle is the most important.  It is important because it exposes clearly the hypocrisy of Western governments who speak of democracy and human rights but directly support racism, tyranny, war, and all violations of human rights. 

We share this one small blue planet and the era of nuclear weapons when a country like Israel could destroy the earth, we cannot afford to be complacent.  We must prove Haegel wrong when he wrote that “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” We do learn from our common history and today in the age of the internet, we are beginning a global uprising against nuclear weapons and against war. When people power is finally realized through global solidarity, we can not only win over war but also over poverty and over climate change and over apathy/indifference.  That is really a future worth sacrificing for.

The Budhists tell us to have “joyful participation in the sorrows of this world”.  Participation is the key.  So indeed may you all have  joyful participation in the sorrows of this world….  Arigatu, thank you, shukran, peace, salam